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Bright Felon: Autobiography And Cities By Kazim Ali Is Now Available
|| 9/1/2009 || 6:52 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||



This groundbreaking, trans-genre work—part detective story, part literary memoir, part imagined past—is intensely autobiographical and confessional. Proceeding sentence by sentence, city by city, and backwards in time, poet and essayist Kazim Ali details the struggle of coming of age between cultures, overcoming personal and family strictures to talk about private affairs and secrets long held. The text is comprised of sentences that alternate in time, ranging from discursive essay to memoir to prose poetry. Art, history, politics, geography, love, sexuality, writing, and religion, and the role silence plays in each, are its interwoven themes. Bright Felon is literally “autobiography” because the text itself becomes a form of writing the life, revealing secrets, and then, amid the shards and fragments of experience, dealing with the aftermath of such revelations. Bright Felon offers a new and active form of autobiography alongside such texts as Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictee, Lyn Hejinian’s My Life, and Etel Adnan’s In the Heart of the Heart of Another Country.



From the Book:

You wouldn’t think I would have wanted a beacon. Rather to find myself in the wilderness on my own.

But I did, I always did.

Could there have been someone else like me, not one thing not another, barely able to choose.

A poet, a Muslim, and of a particular persuasion.

When I knew someone like me I barely knew him and we couldn’t bring ourselves to speak of the one thing we needed to speak to each other about.

Silence stretched between us taut as sin.

In 2004 I moved with Marco down the river to Beacon, NY.

Named for the signal fires placed on top of each mountain in chain running from New York City to Albany.

So if either city fell to the British the insurgents at the other end would know about it.

I placed signal fires up and down each street, so anxious I was to belong somewhere.

—From the chapter “Beacon”



Endorsements:

Bright Felon will steal your heart and outrage your poetics. Part memoir, part trip book, part literary discourse, there is in it an urgent sense of a life lived in words. The tale is one of both innocence and experience. Rigorous, romantic, experimental, true, and yet mysterious, it is a book for the ages.” —Laura Moriarty, author of A Semblance: Selected and New Poems, 1975–2007

“Kazim Ali writes in Bright Felon a prose shaped by the various cities he has lived and loved in. This is a book that is so much more than memoir or autobiography. It is embodied and questioning and it carries through its politics a grace and generosity. —Juliana Spahr, author of Fuck You, Aloha, I Love You



KAZIM ALI is the author of two books of poetry, The Far Mosque (2004) and The Fortieth Day (2008). He is an assistant professor of creative writing at Oberlin College and teaches in the low-residency MFA program of the University of Southern Maine. He is one of the founding editors of Nightboat Books.



The text above was copied from the website of book distributor, University Press of New England



Below is a detail from my map Manhattan & Brooklyn Bridge Quilt, which is featured on the cover of the book:

Detail of Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridge Quilt


Related New York City Entries:

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Found in the Grand Juxtaposition: I am not a terrorist in Tucson
|| 11/20/2008 || 5:09 pm || Comments Off on Found in the Grand Juxtaposition: I am not a terrorist in Tucson || ||

This screen grab from the Grand Juxtaposition and combines the arabic text “I am not a terrorist” with Tucson Quilt.

Related Arabic Entries:

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Quadrant Map of DC – Translated into Latin – “Novus Columbus Quadrans”
|| 5/14/2007 || 9:20 am || Comments Off on Quadrant Map of DC – Translated into Latin – “Novus Columbus Quadrans” || ||

Quadrant Map of DC - Translated into Latin - Novus Columbus Quadrans

Legend:
+ New Columbia – Novus Columbus
+ North West – Septentrio Occidens
+ North East – Septentrio Oriens
+ South West – Merides Occidens
+ South East – Merides Oriens
+ Anno Domino MMVII – Year of Our Lord 2007
+ Signature written in Arabic


This is my first draft of this map. I’ll probably make another with a different color scheme. I feel that there is a lot to be added to this map, but not sure where to start. It’s my first time using Latin as a main focus of a map. I got the idea after looking through the old maps yesterday that it would be funny to label the quadrants of DC in Latin (and future maps with historic samplings). Being that some feel Washington is the modern day Rome, I felt this lexical motif works well. It’s partly educational, partly humorous, and it crosses a few lingusitic barriers that I’ve never approached. Moreover, I am well aware that the water in the area of DC I live in has lead in the water, just like the Romans!

The choice of New Columbia as the title is a reference to the name that DC residents chose to-be for the state of the District of Columbia. I’ve honestly never liked the name “New Columbia” for the state’s name, it’s too old. There is nothing New about naming another state New. Plus, as for abbreviations, NC is already used by North Carolina! So after DC becomes a state, would it be called New Columbia in name but still go by DC or Washington? Or all three?



random banners now greet you
|| 3/3/2007 || 9:38 pm || Comments Off on random banners now greet you || ||

In an effort to make my website a bit more Internet Explorer friendly, I decided to remove the eponymous flash animation that used to sit on the left side of the screen (It never really showed up properly on IE anyways). The banner has now been replaced with a php script that randomly picks a file in a folder on my website. I made 15 banners that all feature my second generation digital signature in the southwest corner. Each time you visit a new page you will get a new banner displayed (some exceptions). View the entire lot after the fold…

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Cathedral Quilt – Signed
|| 6/29/2006 || 1:32 am || Comments Off on Cathedral Quilt – Signed || ||

: rendered at 18,000 X 12,000 :
Cathedral Quilt - Signed by Nikolas Schiller

File this map under cartographic calligraphy. This is probably my favorite map yet.

While working at Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, I had a colleague write my name in Arabic, I recently scanned her text and created a tile that has two attached signatures. The result is a reflection of my signature that can be read in different directions.

I chose to use this map for the DCCAH’s Young Emerging Artist Grant and printed 3 copies. One was framed and currently hangs in my house and another one was donated to the Library of Congress’ Geography & Mapping Division.

View the Google Map of the Washington National Cathedral



#UPDATE#
This map was submitted to the 2007 Web Biennel as an Interactive Map.

: detail :

View the rest of the details:

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Nikolas Schiller is a second-class American citizen living in America's last colony, Washington, DC. This blog is my on-line repository of what I have created or found on-line since May of 2004. If you have any questions or comments, please contact:

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  • thank you,
    come again!